A million words have been uttered about Todd Cantwell's Norwich City story to date. 

The overarching themes that swirl constantly around his name are ones of fulfilment, commitment and ability. Some of those narratives are woven with more positivity than others. 

His journey in the last two years is well documented. The past is just old ground that has been covered to the nth degree. 

That's why his return to Norfolk served as something of a clean slate. The time for talking was over. The time for action was now. 

Cantwell often gets misperceived. Some of that is harmless, some of it deliberate. Some of it comes from people inside the game, others from the terraces. 

He would be the first to admit that certain moments could have panned out differently or handled with a greater degree of care. But these have shaped the person and player Norwich have seen this season. 

Cut through the noise and commentary that surrounds Cantwell's every kick and you reach the crux of the matter - this lad can play. 

In many ways, that statement underpins why there has been such a furore that embraces him. It is a frustration that he hasn't placed his best and most talented foot forward. 

Debates as to why or why not certain things did or did not happen will rumble on - but in the here and now, Cantwell is answering his critics through his football. 

Nobody can question his commitment to the City cause or willingness to work on the evidence of his performances this season - but there is still a feeling there is more to come. 

Cantwell is yet to record either a goal or an assist in 18 matches this season, but he is still an influential player when it comes to what Norwich are doing in possession. 

But that needs to be put in context - Cantwell has played more than 70 minutes in only six matches this season and fewer than 30 in eight. He has played the entirety of a game on just three occasions. 

Output will come with consistency, which has thus far been lacking from Cantwell's season. 

Perhaps his best performances - most notably away to Cardiff and Sheffield United - happened to arrive during the opportunities where he did feature for the entire game. 

Scratch beyond the surface and there is reason to suggest that he is close to discovering some output. 

Cantwell ranks ninth in the division for shot assists (passes that are followed by a shot), only seven players in the Championship have completed more progressive passes and the 23-year-old ranks high among players who make a lot of counter-pressing recoveries - something that Smith is hungry to see more from his side. 

He is underperforming his expected goals rate of 1.38, so it is natural to assume that will balance out as the season progresses. That number is higher than both Onel Hernandez and Kieran Dowell have been able to muster.

When you assess his level of performance, the data reveals that his output should be higher than it is currently - albeit that needs to be higher numbers that are thrown out. 

Comparing Cantwell with Aaron Ramsey throws up some interesting reading given the City academy graduate has played 200 minutes fewer this season than the Aston Villa loanee and yet averages more passes into the penalty area per 90 and through passes per 90 than his colleague. 

The Pink Un: Dean Smith has welcomed Todd Cantwell back into the fold at Norwich City. Dean Smith has welcomed Todd Cantwell back into the fold at Norwich City. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Image Limited)

All of this comes back to the feeling that Cantwell is on the edge of reigniting his spark at Norwich. More game time may well see him deliver it. 

If he could rediscover form and back it up with output, it would complete quite the arc of redemption at Norwich. 

It would be a narrative to blow the others out of the water - a local footballer overcoming adversity to re-emerge as a key player for a club where it looked destined to be the end of the road. 

One moment could light the yellow and green touch paper. One moment could see his numbers skyrocket again. 

Yet, if he wants to fulful his ambitions of playing at the top level, there does need to more goals and assists. He will be acutely aware of that fact. 

Beyond that, it's increasingly difficult to ignore the elephant that has planted itself neatly at the back of the room. 

Norwich activated Cantwell's contract extension clause in the summer - but he is one of eight players who could walk away for nothing at the end of the season. 

That serves as enough of a carrot for Cantwell to prove why Norwich should seek to extend his stay. His willingness to work and attitude has impressed both Dean Smith and Craig Shakespeare this season. 

Those involved in his last contract extension at Carrow Road will be all too aware of the struggles of getting it over the line. There has been a reluctance to undergo a similar experience given how drawn out and difficult it became for all parties.

Some at Norwich are comfortable with the prospect of him leaving later this season if that scenario came to pass with the knowledge that he has provided value, not in a monetary sense, but through a high number of appearances and minutes on the pitch. 

The Pink Un: Todd Cantwell has come back to Norwich City with drive and a willingness to work.Todd Cantwell has come back to Norwich City with drive and a willingness to work. (Image: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Limited)

But that would feel like a sad close to a City career that could and perhaps should have been so different. The mission now is to create a late twist in the tale that makes it an impossibility to ignore fresh discussions. 

It would be hard to dismiss the nagging feeling that he could explode somewhere else in the right structure. But that thought alone is not enough to extend his deal. 

Cantwell's talent is indisputable - now there needs to be more progress after a series of forward steps.